God. Is. So. Cool.

Wow. Went to mass this morning at the Duomo (Also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore). Now, I’m not Catholic so I just went for the experience of church in another country, going to Mass, etc. But God had some other ideas. As I’m sitting there listening to a language I cannot understand, in a country I do not live in, in a church I do not participate in, I heard God. In English. Now this might have been due in part to the fact that the program we received upon entry was in several languages including ours, but nonetheless… I was reading the verses that they had selected for today’s homily and my first thought was one of critique. Why were these verses grouped in such a way that they seemed to go together, but were actually pulled out of context so that they read a whole different message…but I kept reading…and then I opened my own Bible and compared notes, as it were. And that’s when it happened. “The I got lost in the You” as the Opera I saw on Friday night sang. I turned to 1 John 4:7-21 and began reading. The combined conviction and encouragement hit me like a Mack truck. God is love. The strains of the organ and the choir only added to the enormity of the moment. I was participating in worship 5,000 miles away from my home church (CrossPointe) and God followed me there, pursuing my heart no matter where I went. Verse 20 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” Conviction slammed into my heart with startling accuracy. How can I say I love God and not forgive those who have wronged me? How can I say I love God and ignore those crying out for my love? Verses 7-10 show us the Gospel. They tell us what love is and why love is. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (sacrifice) for our sins.
‘All you need is love.” We’ve heard it a million times. But it’s true. Not the love of a man or a woman because they change their minds. They leave us. No. All we need is the love of the One who came up with the idea in the first place. He created love. Think about someone you love. How do you know you love them? You care about them. You care if they live or die, yes. But it’s so much more than that. And sometimes you don’t even mean for it to happen. But all of a sudden you realize you care. It matters to you. They matter to you. You care if they have a good day or a bad day. You care if they succeed or fail. You care if their eyes are happy or sad…
“[…] cast[…] all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7
He feels the same way about us. The way that we care for that certain person (or those certain people) is the way that He cares for us…only times about a million. The fact that we have the capability to care for someone or about someone is evidence enough that He feels that way about us. He created us and everything that we feel and have the ability to feel in His own image. You are cared for, LOVED, by the Creator of those very things. What more do you need? Because of this, we can love. We can share that love with those around us. In fact, we perfect the love that God shows us. Verse 12 says, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” Furthermore, we don’t have to be afraid! Verses 18-19 say, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.
So love, friend. Love with reckless abandon. There is no fear in love. Love those around you. Love your friends. Love your enemies. Love strangers.
Care. Care about those around you. Care about your friends. Care about your enemies. Care about strangers.
Don’t be afraid. Let them matter to you. And then love them with everything you have…
In a language I could not understand, in a country I do not live in, in a church I do not participate in, I heard God. Yes, God. Is. So. Cool.

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